Conference Call Etiquette
By: Peter Girard
Thanks to the majesty of YouTube, I came across a hilarious skit from Tripp and Tyler that I wanted to share with you here today. The video is called ‘A Conference Call in Real Life’ and it oh so accurately portrays every aspect of the activity. I’ve linked to the video below so you can check it out but before I do, the video inspired me to write a short blog on conference call etiquette. So here are some tips to help make your next conference call as painless as possible.
Follow an agenda – Provided to everyone prior to the call, the agenda serves as the guideline for the meeting. Agendas help keep the meeting focused and helps make sure the call doesn’t run way longer than it needs to. If topics come up that are unrelated to the original meeting, make note of them, but move those conversations off-line.
Assign a clear leader / moderator – Before you start any conference call, there should be a clearly defined and assigned moderator to lead the call. Aside from making sure the call moves along and stays on track, the leader can also send the agenda out to all the participants prior to the call thus ensuring all participants are on the same page.
Be prepared – Just like a face-to-face meeting, do the right amount of prep work to make sure you’re up to speed during the call. A good meeting should help you and others accomplish tasks, not spawn additional meetings. Jot down notes or questions before, during, and after the call to keep the discussion fresh in your memory.
Mute yourself – Unless you’re the leader or plan to do a lot of talking, try muting your line when you’re not saying anything. This will help cut down on background noise like the crunch of some chips, the sound of your keyboard, a cough, or a sip of your soda.
State your name – This tip is situational. If it’s a small team and everyone knows your voice, there’s no need to announce yourself every time you begin speaking. But, if you’ve never spoken to some of the call participants before, or want to avoid the “who said that?” confusion then it might be a good habit to get into.
And there you have it. For the most part it’s not rocket science and other common-sense tips include calling in early and keeping good track of conference call times and dates. So without further ado, here is ‘A Conference Call in Real Life’